Gun violence is a pretty big topic right now as we consider the current gun laws in place and the impact it’s having on society.
Last weekend kids all across America marched in a #MarchForOurLives rally to stand up for gun violence in schools. During each march, many young people gave speeches and spoke about the impact this all has on them and their education.
One of those brave young people was 11-year-old Naomi Wadler.
“I am here to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”
At 11 years old, Wadler has captured a nation, drawing attention to an extremely pervasive, yet quiet, issue.
There are so many young victims of gun violence every day with violence growing in schools and highlighted in the media.
However, one thing that is often never shown on the news is the young African-American victims, especially young girls.
Wadler’s speech struck me as I listened to her list names I had never heard of. Why is that?
Why are so many young African-American girls being killed with guns, yet never shown in the media?
It all comes back to racial bias and the #blacklivesmatter movement. If we want to change, we first have to start recognizing the issues.
Here are some of the names you might have missed but need to know.
Courtlin Arrington: The 17-year-old was shot and killed during a classroom shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama on March 7, 2018. She was the only life lost in that shooting.
Hadiya Pendleton: The 15-year-old was shot in the back while standing with her friends in a park in Chicago, IL on January 29, 2013.
Taiyania Thompson: The 16-year-old was shot in the face in an apartment in Washington D.C. on January 25, 2018. Her own father had been shot and killed when she was just an infant.
Toni Stevenson: The 15-year-old was shot multiple times by two masked men with assault rifles while sitting in a car in St. Louis, Missouri on January 18, 2017.
Mi’Kenzi Bostic: The 6-year-old was shot and killed in her home by her 9-year-old sibling on February 13th, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Kanari Gentry Bowers: The 12-year-old was shot in the head by a stray bullet while playing on a playground in Chicago, Illinois on February 11, 2017.
Takiya Holmes: The 11-year-old was shot in the head by a stray bullet while sitting in a minivan in Chicago, Illinois on February 11, 2017, killed in the same shooting as Bowers.
These young girls are only a small portion of the number of victims that gun-violence affects. Whether it was an accidental shooting or a direct aim, they were still killed with a gun. They are still a minority.
And they matter.
The sooner we start acknowledging the issue, the sooner we can get to solving. And it starts with you.